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Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing obituaries submitted in last 6 months by graduates in the 1970s
Lawrence Wisne '70, 68, passed away peacefully in Florida Hospital on Monday, September 19, 2016 in Orlando, Florida at the age of 68. Larry is survived by his wife, Christine; children, Lawrence Jr. (Allison), Michael and Anna; grandchildren, Locke, Reece, and Hudson; his brothers, Alan (Kathy) and Joseph (Debbie); nieces, Shannon and Madelyn and nephew, Lee. He is preceded in death by parents, Anthony and Hazel; sisters, Janis and Toni; niece, Kyla and nephew AJ.
Larry was born on December 17, 1947 in Detroit, Michigan to Anthony and Hazel. He graduated from University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 1966, earned his bachelor's degree from Santa Clara University in 1970 and his master's degree from University of Denver in 1972. He married Judy Wisne (Piotrowski) in 1977. They have three children, Lawrence Jr., Michael and Anna. He later re-married Christine Wisne (Hughes) in 2005; her daughter is Angelica Hughes. Larry's daughter-in-law is Allison Wisne M.A. '08.
Larry had an illustrious professional career, taking over as President of Progressive Tool and Die (PICO) in 1979. He built the business that started in his father's garage into an international powerhouse, culminating with multiple appearances on Forbes' list of 500 largest private companies in America in the late nineties and sale of the business to Fiat S.p.A in 1999. Additionally, he became one of the premier restaurateurs in the Midwest, advancing fine dining in the Detroit area by starting Tribute Restaurant, which garnered national attention for its innovate approach to cuisine and top-flight clientele. Larry had a deep love for athletics including racquetball, hockey and softball, but none more than golf and his Detroit Lions.
He was a kind and giving man who had many passions including photography, nature and cooking. He was wholeheartedly dedicated to his faith in the Catholic Church and was always generous to those who were less fortunate.
William Hugh Baber III '68, J.D. '71, a retired attorney, pilot and family man, passed away on Monday, October 24th at age 69. Bill was born and raised in Willows, California graduating Willows High School in 1964. At Willows High, he played baseball (catcher), basketball and football, where he was a proud "Willows Honker." As a teenager, Bill spent many weekends playing golf at the Glenn Golf and Country Club. Growing up in Willows, Bill loved to spend time with his father and grandfather on their nearby ranches. His father, William H. Baber, Jr., was a well respected sheep rancher and past president of the California Wool Growers Association. Bill was very proud of his father's military service in defending our country as a lead Bombardier in WWII. Bill's grandfather, Hugh Baber, managed the Llano Seco Rancho in Butte County and was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1971. "Hugh Baber Lane" at the Llano Seco was named in his honor. Bill's mother, Suzanne La Force Baber, was a shining star in his life. A classical pianist from Midland, Texas, Sue started the Junior League in Willows and played the piano and organ at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. She was much beloved by her husband and two sons, Bill and his brother, Clark. Bill was also very close with his family in Texas. Watson La Force, his maternal grandfather, was a renowned businessman in the independent oil and gas industry. His efforts for the community of Midland's flying transportation work resulted in the current development and operation of the Midland International Terminal. Watson too had a street named after him, "La Force Blvd." When Bill was growing up, his grandfather and grandmother would take him for rides in their twin engine Cessna. Bill always attributed his love of flying to his grandfather. In 1968, Bill graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Political Science. He went on to attain a law degree from Santa Clara Law School in 1971 following his clerkship in a large law firm in Midland, Texas. In college and law school, Bill had a very special group of friends. There were always many fun stories and a lot of laughs following their fly fishing, hunting and golfing adventures. Following passing the State Bar on December 7, 1971, Bill practiced law with the Minasian Law Firm in Oroville, California for 32 years. His practice included water rights, civil litigation and business law. As a young litigator, Bill brought a case, "Royal Globe," before the California Supreme Court and won. In 1974, Bill moved to Chico and started his family. He loved to take his family skiing: Squaw Valley, Snow Mass, Aspen and Vail were some of his favorite ski resorts. Bill's children started skiing at age three. Because of his very adventurous spirit, Bill encouraged his family to ski the black diamond slopes, ski the powder through the trees and helicopter ski. Bill was an avid pilot and loved to fly for both business and pleasure. He received his private pilot's license in 1979, the year his son, Scott, was born. Flying his family to the Nut Tree for breakfast and taking the train to the restaurant was one of Bill's favorite flying trips. Physical activities and sports with family and friends were always a passion for Bill. He really enjoyed duck and pheasant hunting with his son and Uncle Jack in Colusa as well as fly fishing with his family in Deer Creek and Alaska. Golf, snow skiing, water skiing, tennis and jogging through Bidwell Park were some of Bill's favorite pastimes. Most every Sunday, Bill attended St. John's Episcopal Church with Father Richard Yale. He felt blessed to be part of a loving, positive church community. Bill's zest for life and contagious laugh will always be remembered. He was very grateful to spend special time with his children and grandchildren. Bill is survived by his two children, Kelly Kristine Nelson and Scott Baber; his four grandchildren; his Uncle Jack Baber; his nephew Mike Baber, and his niece, Melissa Baber; his aunt and uncle, Watson and Patti La Force and four cousins, including Jack "Jon" Baber M.B.A. '86.
John William Otter M.S. '72 joined his beloved Elda in eternal rest, October 14, 2016. He met Elda, his lifelong sweetheart, at Roseville High School. They shared 6 decades together, giving life to 3 children David (Leticia), James (Anne), and Diane (Richard), 9 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. John is also survived by his beloved sister and friend, Anne Woods, and several nieces and nephews. In a life characterized by hard work and service, John worked for the railroads as a young man, spent two years in the Navy, worked for the Post Office as a letter carrier, graduated from Sac State, and then began a 38 year career as a Math teacher at El Camino High School, occasionally teaching at American River College. At El Camino he was also a Drivers Ed instructor, union steward, and frequent volunteer at sports games, and JROTC outings. He also earned a master's Degree from Santa Clara University. John was an usher for many years at Our Lady of the Assumption. After retiring, John spent much of his time helping his best buddies on construction jobs, and was a 20-year volunteer for the Sac County Flu Clinic. John loved to spend time gardening and working in the yard. He trimmed his trees so his grandkids could climb them more easily. John loved the outdoors, and was always up for a road trip to the very end. He and Elda enjoyed cruises to Alaska, Hawaii, and around the Caribbean.
Terry Kane '75 was a resident of San Jose and a loving father, husband, counselor, and friend. Terry was born and raised in Merced, California. He graduated from Santa Clara University (1975), received an M.Phil in economics from Oxford (1977), and a law degree from USC (1980).
He and his wife, Judy Keifer, met in Los Angeles, quickly relocating to the home ground of San Jose to raise their two beautiful girls, Mary Kate and Holly. His family was his life, and he adored his girls. Terry joked that he spent over 20 years practicing law in different offices in downtown San Jose all within a 9 iron shot of Almaden Boulevard and Santa Clara Street. He was an expert in trusts and estates law and later moved into the banking world working at Wells Fargo, First Republic and Fremont Bank. In 2009, he authored The Wise Planner, a guide to estate planning for families of all income levels, written with his intelligence and wit to simplify potentially complicated legal matters. He was a 20+ year board member for the San Jose Conservation Corp, member of the San Jose Rotary Club, and Associate Law Professor at Lincoln Law School.
His piano playing was a joy to his family and others, as well as to himself. Terry loved scuba diving with his daughters and boasted his second job was camera bag Sherpa for his wife Judy, an amateur photographer. Terry was full of pride and love for his family: daughter Mary Kate studying for her PhD in Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, daughter Holly at Oxford University completing her M.Phil in Archaeology, and his loving wife and best friend of more than 30 years, Judy. He is also survived by his elder brother, Thomas J. Kane, III '73, his sister, Sharon Marshak, and mother and father-in-law Jan and Jerry Keifer. His mother, Kay Kane, died in 2015. His father Thomas J. Kane, II died in 1973. He will be missed more than he could ever know.
Rebecca Louise Vacura Lessley '78 died peacefully in her home in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 8, 2016, with her husband, Michael Clayton Lessley, at her side. At only 60 years old, her illness was unexpected but blessedly swift. Becky was born January 22, 1956, and raised in Fairbanks Alaska by her parents Helen and Albert Vacura, along with nine siblings. She attended Santa Clara University with her two little sisters, Patty Vacura Hollands '79 (Glen Hollands '78) and Julie Vacura '81. She graduated in 1978 and went home to Fairbanks to marry the love of her life, Mike. She went on to get her Master's Degree in education and became a teacher, eventually settling on kindergarten as the class she loved the most. She finished her teaching career with the honor of being named British Petroleum Teacher of Excellence. The Lessley home was the gathering place for all things family. Becky's ready smile, infectious laughter, generosity, and open door made everyone feel welcome and special. Becky leaves behind her husband, Mike, daughter Kelly, sons Christopher and Ryan, grandchildren Taliyah and Lawrence, seven brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, and countless friends. Please say special prayers for all the people whose lives Becky enriched and whose hearts are not yet mending.